Trump for President!

After several weeks of trying to raise awareness of the disaster it would be to elect Donald Trump as the president of the USA, I have changed my mind.

I will now support Trump and cheer on him from abroad – hoping he will hit a Home Run next week.

trump

I will support him precisely because it will be a disaster. It will set the effort to curtail global warming back decades when he pulls the US support for the Paris Agreement. Trump is notoriously anti-science and pro-conspiracies and conveniently believes climate change to be a hoax. I believe global warming is the single most important issue facing the Earth for the next century. And we cannot fail in our efforts to not fuck up our planet.

But, it’s better to fail hard and fast than to fail in ten years when the crisis is even tougher. And I don’t believe we can afford not to fail now. We must let Trump win so that he can fail in public so that the US can learn fast – and then join in with other nations that want to pull our weight together. The alternative is worse – having 150 million disaffected Americans sulking and bitching for the next 4 years.

Shielding the US from Muslims, Mexicans, Syrian refugees (which is largely due to the US intervention in the Middle East), free trade and everything Mr. Trump doesn’t like is certainly not the way forward. But no amount of rhetoric, persuasion or facts will convince Trump supporters that we need to pull together. The egoism runs too deep. He needs to wreck havoc in order for people to understand that this right wing lunacy is a dead end.

I believe in failing. And learning. It’s core to my coaching of athletes, executives and artists. US needs to learn. Since the world has never been socially better off than now, we should afford 4 years of crazy shit to accommodate for better decades to come.

It apparently wasn’t enough for Bush to fail, he’s simply been written off later as “part of the establishment”. We need another fast and solid failure.

Vote for Trump. Make America Fail Again.

Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

I just read an article in “Philosophy Now” with this title. The article is definitely worth a read as it tackles common misapplications of Ockham’s Razor.

william-of-ockham-razor-quote

To fill you in on this principle, let’s quote WhatIs.com:

Ockham’s razor (also spelled Occam’s razor, pronounced AHK-uhmz RAY-zuhr) is the idea that, in trying to understand something, getting unnecessary information out of the way is the fastest way to the truth or to the best explanation. William of Ockham (1285-1349), English theologian and philosopher, spent his life developing a philosophy that reconciled religious belief with demonstratable, generally experienced truth, mainly by separating the two. Where earlier philosophers attempted to justify God’s existence with rational proof, Ockham declared religious belief to be incapable of such proof and a matter of faith. He rejected the notions preserved from Classical times of the independent existence of qualities such as truth, hardness, and durability and said these ideas had value only as descriptions of particular objects and were really characteristics of human cognition.

Ockham was noted for his insistence on paying close attention to language as a tool for thinking and on observation as a tool for testing reality. His thinking and writing is considered to have laid the groundwork for modern scientific inquiry.

Ockham’s insistence on the use of parsimony (we might call it minimalism) in thought resulted in some later writer’s invention of the term, Ockham’s razor. Among his statements (translated from his Latin) are: “Plurality is not to be assumed without necessity” and “What can be done with fewer [assumptions] is done in vain with more.” One consequence of this methodology is the idea that the simplest or most obvious explanation of several competing ones is the one that should be preferred until it is proven wrong.

The article in “Philosophy Now” tackles the logical boundaries of this principle. When it can be used and when it can not be used. I won’t reiterate the article here, only expand upon it – and in a way that doesn’t require reading the article to get my point. Here goes:

One common atheist line of reasoning is that since science is successfully explaining more and more of existence, the need for God becomes less and less. And by applying Ockham’s Razor, we might as well erase the need for a God altogether. This is a theme common among New Atheist authors such authors as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

This logic is wrong. And it is easily proven through simple mathematics:

If you have one value decreasing as a result of another increasing, you cannot simply assume that if the increasing value gets arbitrarily high, the other will eventually become zero. Even if the increasing value becomes infinite, there is no reason to think that the decreasing value becomes zero.

Consider this simple equation:

f(x) = \frac{1}{x}

As “x” approaches infinity, the result, “f(x)” approaches zero. But it will never become zero. Because if you were to equate 1/∞ with zero, you would get the obvious absurdity that ∞/∞ is also zero:

\frac{\infty}{\infty} = \infty * \frac{1}{\infty} = \infty * 0 = 0

..which obviously is absurd. Informally, such uses of Ockham’s Razor comes under the heading of the “hasty generalization” fallacy.

Tech stuff: Julia, Vim & Vizardry

Been doing lots of tech stuff lately. Here’s a sharing of some highlights.

Through the years I’ve been programming in more than a dozen different languages. Since many years I have more or less settled on Ruby besides my HP-41 projects programmed in FOCAL and MCODE. Now and then I get this urge to learn a new programming language, and after an extensive search for something neat, I finally landed on Julia. I’m trying her out while reading the book, “Getting started with Julia Programming Language“.

The book is good. The programming language seems excellent. It boasts a complete GitHub-based package system to extend the language with various modules. Although it’s a general purpose language, its strength lies in maths and natural sciences. It’s very fast and with a pretty clean and natural syntax. You can even do straight forward math like this:

f(x) = 2sin(3x)^2

And by then executing the function “f” with x as 0.8, you get the answer straight:

f(0.8)
0.9125010165605526

There is a chance I could be falling in love here 🙂

I’ve also been doing lots of work on my Conky setup resulting in this as my “bare” desktop:

conky

If you have any questions about scripts or conky setups, just ask by leaving a comment here.

Then there is VIM – perhaps my the tool I use the most. I’ve been using VIM for writing everything from HyperLists and notes to e-mails, short stories and books since around 2001. It’s a fantstic text editor. But it lacks a good package manager for add-ons :-/

But then I found Vizardry. Using Pathogen as a base to install extensions, Vizardry will let you search for add-ons, install it with a breeze and remove it just as easily. If you’re a VIM user, this is a must. Go get it! You will thank me 🙂

The dangers of comfort

I believe we have an inherent drive, a purpose. Any purpose.

A purpose needs a game. A game needs a purpose.

Without barriers, there is no drive and without a drive there is no life.

Life is fueled by accomplishment. The overcoming of barriers toward a purpose we create yields a sense of mastery, of accomplishment.

When we fulfill purposes, we create new purposes to achieve. As we realize purposes, our life becomes more accomplished, more perfected. And comfort sets in.

Johnny wants to become a physician, have a luxurious home, a great marriage and two wonderful kids. He goes through years of education, dates girls, becomes a doctor and marries Miss Right. They get two lovely kids. He’s a wonderful father and they adore him. They live in a fantastic house and life is full of comfort. Now what?

With more perfection and comfort, less purposes and excitement remains. There is freedom with less barriers and adventure, less drive and direction. There is less to live for. At that point a person can slumber in apathy or revolt by creating less positive adventures – like self-inflicted pains, drugs or criminality. Johnny starts drinking and beats Miss Right left and right. He gambles and loses the house.

What happens with individuals have parallels in societies and the World at large.

We see the dangers of comfort in our decadent Western world much like the Romans experienced in their conquered world. As our world grows less dangerous and comfort and freedom sets in, we will create new dangers to topple, or we can slide into apathy to have dangers mounting while we slumber. With less wars, population growth tapering off and with criminality rates going down, we may have to rely on global warming or artificial intelligence to keep us busy. Because perfecting society with security to iron out any possibility of terrorism will only create more comfort and less life.

Maybe the need for adventure is why we don’t see any advance alien civilizations. Maybe they bored themselves into apathy or did some crazy shit as a counter-reaction to the increasing comfort and lull.

If you can look past the terrible special effects and the cute retro scenery, this episode of Space 1999 captures the dangers of comfort in a neat way:

What should we do to have a decent game to come back to?